Sirago Underwriting Managers

About Us

Sirago is a specialist UMA functioning within the financial services sector. Our focus is on providing the South African market with leading Gap Cover solutions, which serves as a vital aid to your medical scheme cover.

Sirago focuses on offering unique Gap Cover products for the South African market. As an underwriting manager, Sirago seeks market opportunities in specific niche products. Our product development includes benefit determination based on medical scheme design, the premium rating, development of policy wording, and the distribution and marketing strategy of our product. We are underwritten by GENRIC Insurance Company Limited, an authorised Financial Services Provider and registered Short-term Insurer. Our core business revolves around the provision of critical benefits to policyholders who are faced with unforeseen medical expense shortfalls, which are not fully covered by their medical schemes.

It is no secret that the provision of basic health services in South Africa and the wider Sub-Saharan African countries is less than adequate. Specialised health services are even more inaccessible to the average citizen. In South Africa the lack of structured mechanisms to ensure that funds are spent effectively, often results in inadequate quality control, and insufficient proper standard risk management and social healthcare programs, which results in the State continually having to manage the healthcare demand with inappropriately used healthcare funding.

In addition to this financial responsibility is increasingly transferred to medical scheme members through the reduction of benefits, limitations to access, and the application of co-payments. Service providers have also become aware of Gap products and in some instances are altering their billing practices to charge more than the rates agreed between themselves and the contracted medical schemes, while specialist health service providers are able to charge any price for their services. This results in a massive burden being placed on the medical scheme member and creates a vast opportunity for alternative health risk models.

Recognising the plight of the continuously financially over-burdened South African consumer, we at Sirago offer short-term health insurance solutions for the more than 9.5 million beneficiaries participating in the private medical aid industry of South Africa to help assist with their financial burdens in the event of a health crisis. Our first priority is to provide our policyholders with the peace of mind to focus on recovery and recuperation, which is why we do our underwriting at application, rather than claims stage. We also pride ourselves on effective turn-around times — in order to achieve this, Sirago have weekly pay runs, which is not always typical for the health insurance industry. Additionally, in an effort to assist as many people as possible, many of whom may not be aware of the risks involved in shortfalls in their medical scheme benefits, we also encourage our distribution partners to advise individuals and employers to ensure they are adequately covered for such emergencies.

How we operate

Sirago always strives to help alleviate the stress of a potential financial crisis individuals and families may face due to having to pay for these unexpected costs from their pockets. One of our most important core values are empathy with our policyholders. Sirago’s success is based on sound business principles and a committed team who share the same strategic vision. The core pillars of our business are founded on:

Meeting room
  • A client-centric approach, translating into exceptional client- service standards with regards to quality and timeliness; efforts to ensure continual improvement and success; and real, appropriate and cost-effective product solutions.
  • Sirago remains receptive to the changes and challenges of the industry, and responds by providing continuous training and development of staff, along with the active monitoring and measuring of their performance levels.
  • The success of the business can also be attributed to the fact that each employee has been part of the growth of the business and “lives the brand”.
  • We strive to apply consistency in terms of our service and the application of rules, ensuring reliability and fairness to all stakeholders.

Meet the team

Martin Rimmer

Chief Executive Officer

Martin is Sirago’s Chief Executive Officer. He is a skilful and accomplished leader with numerous qualifications, including diplomas in Financial Management, degrees in Marketing Management and Principles of Management, as well as over 30 years’ business experience. Martin’s unique combination of qualifications and experience in business leadership, sales and marketing, distribution and operations as well as all administration, risk management, corporate governance and compliance related aspects, presents him with a well-rounded and competitive edge. He offers extensive experience in business strategy development and implementation, underwriting, financial management and product development within the healthcare and financial services industries. He is passionate about business, and inspired to look for innovative ways to achieve success. He believes in building and driving momentum, so that he has a clear focus to excel uncompromisingly. As a strong and natural leader, he aims to develop people to be their best and to motivate them to excel, and has successfully developed and led high-performing teams to delivery on organisational objectives.

Noeleen Burrill

Operations Director

Every business has someone who is the "backbone" to the operational area. Meet Noeleen Burrill, the Operations Manager for Sirago. Noeleen is "part of the furniture" so to speak and is therefore intimate with all the mechanics and processes of the business. Noeleen’s portfolio is responsible for the administration and efficiencies within the day-to-day running of Sirago. She also takes responsibility for compliance and ensuring the staff meet the “fit and proper” requirements as set out in the Short-term insurance Act. She is seasoned in the processes and procedures of the healthcare industry, with her experience in this field spanning more than 25 years. Noeleen has been part of Sirago’s journey and growth since 2008, earning her the reputation of being the go-to knowledge and information resource about the business. She is passionate about Sirago, customer services and the insurance industry, and her mission is to simplify and standardize relevant processes for all stakeholders. Like the rest of the team, Noeleen is passionate and committed to ensuring that every interaction with the business of Sirago is a great customer experience.

Management Team

As an organisation, Sirago has adopted a flat management structure. All managers report directly to the CEO and the Operations Director, taking responsibility for the day to day performance and production of the business. The objective is for managers to be readily accessible and available not only to address the needs of staff, but also those of clients and intermediaries.

Assessment Team

Our Assessment Team is responsible for ensuring that claims are processed in the prescribed turnaround time by our assessors; in line with policy terms and benefits. “We strive to ensure that claims are assessed accurately and timeously in order to provide excellent service to our members.” In all our interactions with our intermediaries around the business of Gap, the message is the same, it’s all about claims management.

Claims Team

At Sirago, we are proud and fortunate to have the best claims team in the industry. The Claims team’s primary responsibility is to manage claims queries and escalations with members and brokers - an extremely important function within our business.

Customer Service Team

Among other very important tasks, it is the Customer Experience team's responsibility to be the "face" of Sirago, and whose voices you hear when you make telephonic contact with us. In any business, the person or people who pick up the phone to welcome you with a smile in order to direct your enquiry is a critical business imperative. We are super excited and delighted with our Care Team and they remain committed and eager to talk to our brokers and policyholders on any business-related matters. Client services underpins the essence of our business.

Finance Team

The Finance Team is responsible for handling Sirago’s finances, including the payment of service providers and broker commissions. The team is responsible for premium management and for the overall financial portfolio of the business, including all aspects of premium management such as debit order collection, individual and group billing, refunds and broker commissions.

Underwriting Team

The Membership and Underwriting team at Sirago's responsibilities include the implementation of customer centric or customer care measurements in conjunction with quality assurance and quality control measures. The team is also responsible for policy inception and changes, group take on, the adding of additional dependants, clinical risk management and processing, as well as non-clinical and clinical underwriting of new business and additional dependants.

Marketing Team

Marketing is responsible for internal and external communications, the procurement of corporate gifts and clothing, supplying the broker consultants with marketing material and ensuring the delivery of our brand presence to every stakeholder in the Sirago value chain.

Our Journey

01 Jan 1993
01 Jan 1993

Entering the Niche Insurance Market

Sirago entered the niche insurance market as SAFCAM in 1993 just before the birth of democracy. This was an exciting, but also uncertain time in the history of South Africa. Health insurance already formed part of the wider insurance categories, but solutions that covered medical expense shortfalls — or Gap Cover — were still deemed “excessive” and “unnecessary”.
01 Jan 2000
01 Jan 2000

Pioneering Gap Cover

Our head office was still based in the agricultural town of Bethlehem in the Eastern Free State, and unsurprisingly catered for a range of agricultural insurance products. However, the company also had a strong alignment with a medical scheme administrator through shareholding, and was one of the pioneers in the health insurance industry by including Gap Cover. Initially the growth was slow with a small distribution channel, as the need for this kind of solution was still not widely appreciated.
01 Jan 2005
01 Jan 2005

Accelerated Growth

Our name changed from SAFCAM to Resolution Underwriters, indicating an even stronger alignment with the administrators, and our head office moved from Bethlehem to the country’s business hub in Gauteng. Since dipping our toes in Gap Cover, we now also offered unconventional products like Baby Bucks, Ghost Car and Wings of Life. However, with the necessity for Gap Cover solutions becoming increasingly evident, we increasingly focused our efforts on covering individuals and families for medical expense shortfalls, and growth started accelerating.
01 Jan 2010
01 Jan 2010

The Gap Solution

In 2010 our name changed to what we are known as today — Sirago Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd. By now we were sufficiently positioned in the retail space to challenge other Gap Cover providers. During this time co-payments and Gap Covers were still treated as two separate products, and Sirago became exclusive underwriters for Gap solutions only.
01 Jan 2015
01 Jan 2015

Strategic Development

Our policyholder count had grown exponentially in recent years, and we have been named GENRIC’s UMA of the year in 2017 and 2019. Strategic development included changes in leadership, revised business strategies and restructuring. With regards to our products, we continue to focus on refining insurance solutions in our niche market. Our national network of broker consultants (BCs) have expanded and we have become a market disruptor in the Gap Cover arena. We are continuously adapting to the changing environment as demonstrated in the development of improved technology platforms and the continuous delivery of new products tailored to the evolving needs of the market.

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